The man likes his coffee, but he likes customer service just as much. Dave Caughran shares his caffeine experience with us in the latest Upsell guest post.
Why is it that I find myself writing about the failings of the small‘ish’ local business and promoting the extra mile that a giant multinational business goes?
Here’s why: I drink coffee. But, my coffee drinking has no strict loyalties. I don’t consciously seek out a Starbucks, nor do I cross the street to go to the local barista. Guess you could say I’m a free agent when it comes to coffee, with one caveat, your coffee better taste good.
So it wasn’t unusual the other night for me to avoid turning left into the mall for a Starbucks or Tim Hortons. Instead, I chose to stay on ‘this’ side of the street to go to Moka House Coffee for an evening coffee on the way to my destination.
As I waited at the counter for my turn, I ogled the baked goods, talked myself out of the gooey one and into the healthy one and back into the gooey one. I was in a good mood. Until I ordered. My friend and I both ordered a “large decaf”…It was nearly 8pm and neither of us wanted to be watching late night reruns of The Simpsons waiting for the caffeine high to wear off. The barista, and it’s not her fault, announced “We don’t brew decaf. Would you like an Americano instead?” I’m still in a good mood because I’ve heard this before. It’s The Upsell at BIG ol’ Starbucks in the evening where they don’t want to waste product and demand isn’t high for decaf strangely enough.
The counter person then announced what seemed like an inordinate amount of money for 2 large decafs and our 2 baked indiscretions. SHATTER!!! That was the sound of my good natured naïveté and my good mood falling to the ground in pieces. Innocent me asks “Why is it so much for 2 coffees and 2 goodies? Shouldn’t it be less?!!?” Only to be informed “Well no, a large brewed coffee is $2.25, but you’re having a large Americano, that’s $3.80 each.”
“BUT YOU DON’T BREW LARGE DECAF!!!” was the yell that went through my mind. Which instead came out “Oh! Really?? Then switch mine to a large brewed dark roast.” (I’ll spend some time tonight with Bart & Homer I guess) as my friend handed me a little more money for his and the barista probably cursed in her head at having to change the order in the till. Lucky for her she hadn’t started the Americanos yet.
As I walked to the coffee condiment counter… As I added to my cream and sweetener… As my friend and I walked to the car… As I drove to our destination… I fumed and ranted and raved… Because my expectation had been set by my experience at, where else but, Starbucks, go figure. What I didn’t mention above is that Starbucks makes you an Americano instead of brewed decaf FOR NO EXTRA CHARGE!!
Does it take a little more time to make an Americano? Probably. Does it cost a little more for the beans and the time on the giant espresso machine? Probably, but in the long run it probably even saves them money. But does it make a lasting positive impression, fostering goodwill and putting them higher on my coffee list because Starbucks went the extra mile and did ‘a little thing’ for me? DEFINITELY! So Moka House had their chance to impress me as a customer, to do a little more to keep my business. Did they succeed? NOPE, a big miserable fail!
Long before social media, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube et al, there used to be an adage in the restaurant business: “One happy customer is one happy customer. One unhappy customer tells 10 friends NOT to go to your restaurant.” In this day and age where a broken guitar turns into a viral song on YouTube and a broken wheelchair harnesses the power of Twitter, both guilting large airlines into doing the right thing, business should be asking itself: “Can I really afford to alienate a customer?”
So Moka House can keep their $3.80 decaf Americano. Next time, I’m going “across the street.”
Do you think Moka House was in the right? Should they not charge for the products they sell or would it be better to cater to customers though they’ll be losing money? The comments are over to you…